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Despite travel restrictions, closed borders, and general pandemic exhaustion, 13 new secondary teachers still made it to AISB for the 2021-22 school year. Here’s a little about each of them, along with their pictures, so you know what they look like beneath their masks.


Hanan Abdou

Q: Where did you move here from? 

A: I moved here from Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. 

Q: What subject do you teach? 

A: I’m a learning support teacher.

Q: What are your hobbies? 

A: I love boxing, hiking, puzzles, game nights, sports, cleaning, cooking, movies, music, running, sketch journaling, cooking, and just random adventures.

Q: What’s something you’d like your students to know about you?

A: I really love being silly and joking around to make people smile. I come off as shy, but pretty soon no one will be able to escape my silliness.


Iulia Anghel

Q: Where did you move here from? 

A:  I am originally from Brașov, but I moved to Bucharest almost eight years ago to complete my studies in Romanian Language and Literature.

Q: What subject do you teach? 

A: I am a Romanian teacher. At present, I am working with grades 7 & 9 (and I’m loving it! )

Q: What are your hobbies? 

A: I am passionate about quiet reading sessions, intricate linguistic analyses and strolling art museums. I am interested in finding innovative ways of teaching, so that I can provide a pleasant learning experience for all my kids.

Q: What’s something you’d like your students to know about you?

A: I would like them to discover me as a friend who’s always here for them! I would also like to share that though I am a quiet person when not in the classroom, all my close ones tell me that I could be a really good comedian (and I choose to believe them!).


Lydia Barnes

Q: Where did you move here from? 

A: I’m coming here from the International School of Florence in Italy. Before that, I was teaching in the Cayman Islands for five years. I’m originally from Oregon, but my family’s roots are Eastern European, so coming to Romania is an opportunity to experience a part of my family’s past.

Q: What subject do you teach? 

A: I offer learning support for grade 9 and 10 students.

Q: What are your hobbies? 

A: A few of my interests are in travel, food, and gardening. I have traveled extensively. My itch to travel came from my parents, who on a whim would decide we would drop everything and take a trip. I like a good book on a cold day while wrapped in a warm blanket or sitting in the shade of a tree on a warm sunny day. I love working in the dirt and have a green thumb when it comes to growing plants. I love the outdoors and anyone who knows me knows that I am always up for a hike or a fishing trip.

Q: What’s something you’d like your students to know about you?

A: I have coached girls’ basketball and coed track and field for many years. I have a competitive spirit when it comes to sports; sometimes it can get out of control, and I must watch for those times and reign myself in! Also, I am thankful to be joining the AISB community, for the opportunity to explore Romania, and the prospect of connecting with family in the Ukraine.


Ana Bilbao Rodriguez

Q: Where did you move here from? 

A: The Bahamas, but I’m originally from Spain—from Bilbao actually (like my surname)!

Q: What subject do you teach? 

A: Spanish for grades 7, 8, 10 and 11.

Q: What are your hobbies? 

A: Cycling, swimming, walking, and traveling.

Q: What’s something you’d like your students to know about you?

A:  I have lived and worked in Spain, the US, Brazil, Panama, and the Bahamas before coming to Romania.


Paul Cooper

Q: Where did you move here from? 

A: Bangkok, Thailand, after 13 years there.

Q: What subject do you teach? 

A: Humanities, grades 8 & 9 and Economics, grades 11 & 12.

Q: What are your hobbies? 

A: Supporting Middlesbrough Football, playing pool, plus spending time with my family.

Q: What’s something you’d like your students to know about you?

A: I am an experienced MUN supervisor and many years ago I played semi professional football.


Diana Gonzalez Hernandez

Q: Where did you move here from? 

A: Chennai, India.

Q: What subject do you teach? 

A: Mother Tongue Spanish.

Q: What are your hobbies? 

A: I have many interests! Some of them are: dance, yoga/meditation, hiking, the outdoors, learning about history and different cultures. Also, admiring beauty in art, people and nature. I am an inquisitive person, so I love having deep conversations on various topics with my husband, Josiah, over coffee or dinner. I find great satisfaction in questioning ideas and perspectives, so playing “devil’s advocate” is one of my favorite things!

Q: What’s something you’d like your students to know about you?

A: 1. You can always be honest with me; 2. I will do my best to support your wellbeing and your growth; 3. I will often question your ideas and explore different perspectives on things. This is an enriching and fun exercise; enjoy it with me! 


Melanie Kempe

Q: Where did you move here from? 

A: Most directly from Vienna, but in the last 18 months we have moved from Abuja, Nigeria to Calgary, Canada, on to Vienna, Austria, and finally here to Bucharest (where we plan to stay!).  

Q: What subject do you teach? 

A: I teach MYP and DP English Language & Literature to grades 8, 10, and 11.  

Q: What are your hobbies? 

A: I love to read, hike, travel, and eat great food—ideally all in the same day! I also really enjoy all things basketball.

Q: What’s something you’d like your students to know about you?

A: I’d like my students to know that what I care most about is human connection. How they feel as people matters more than what they take away from my classroom, so I aspire to build relationships that create trust and inspire learning.  


Josiah Laposky

Q: Where did you move here from? 

A: I moved to Bucharest from Chennai, India. I am originally from Minnesota in the U.S. and have also lived and worked in Ecuador, Mexico, and Egypt.

Q: What subject do you teach? 

A: I am a counselor for grades 10, 11, and 12.

Q: What are your hobbies? 

A: I love being outdoors— hiking, running, camping, surfing —anything that gives me an excuse to be in nature. I also enjoy practicing meditation and yoga.

Q: What’s something you’d like your students to know about you?

A: My wife, Diana, is from Mexico. I like to practice Spanish, so please feel free to speak to me in Spanish. I love listening and connecting with students, and I look forward to getting to know the students at AISB!


Kathleen Mercury

Q: Where did you move here from? 

A: This is my first international teaching experience, and I’m coming from St. Louis, Missouri, USA.

Q: What subject do you teach? 

A: I am teaching grade 6 math and science. 

Q: What are your hobbies? 

A: Playing board games is my predominant hobby, and I’m also a game designer. My first published board game, Greece Lightning, is just now being released in the US, and I have two more (Dragnarok, a fantasy, scenario-based dexterity game, and Valkyrie, a highly thematic abstract game) in the works to be released in 2022/2023. I also podcast (Games in Schools and Libraries & On Board Games); I’ve worked with some cool companies like Riot Games; and I help teachers all over the world teach students to design games, and to use game-based learning structures in their classes. I also like to read, do cosplay, go on long walks, and buy weird little things.

Q: What’s something you’d like your students to know about you?

A: I chose my own last name, and it’s my favorite thing I’ve ever done for myself. 


Christopher Moore

Q: Where did you move here from? 

A: My family and I are most recently moving from Vienna, Austria, but I have spent the past 15 years traveling the world as a teacher. We’ve been incredibly fortunate to have lived and build memories in Nigeria, Malaysia, South Korea, and Honduras.

Q: What subject do you teach? 

A: This year I’ll be teaching secondary mathematics for grades 8, 9, 10, as well as Applications and Interpretations SL.

Q: What are your hobbies? 

A: I love everything to do with sports, from playing, coaching, watching, discussing—literally anything and everything! I will try almost everything at least once and therefore am tolerant of most sports and activities (I’m looking at you, Spouse Carrying and Chess Boxing!). I love to cook; cooking is my medium for art—from blending different flavors and spices together, to presentation and plating, I love to use food as a way of expressing myself. I love to travel. Broadening my perspectives and satisfying my intellectual curiosities through exotic destinations and foreign places will never grow old!  

Q: What’s something you’d like your students to know about you?

A: If I wasn’t teaching students how to find the nth root of x or that math can be so much more than a subject that scares the daylights out of many, I would love to own my own restaurant on some tropical beach, specializing in ribs and wings. If you ever come across a restaurant named ‘Oinky’s’ in your future travels, be sure to stop in and say hi and ask for your 10% discount!  


Sebastian Olivares Lizana

Q: Where did you move here from? 

A: Santiago, Chile.

Q: What subject do you teach? 

A: I teach English as an Additional Language (EAL) to grade 9 students.

Q: What are your hobbies? 

A: I love baking, especially cupcakes. I also love dancing, and am becoming a bit of a plant dad (and successfully failing!).

Q: What’s something you’d like your students to know about you?

A: I care about them and I’m a safe place.


Chelsea Skidd

Q: Where did you move here from? 

A: I moved here from New York City, where I was a high school physics teacher and middle school science and computer science teacher at The Spence School.

Q: What subject do you teach? 

A: I teach 6th grade math and science. 

Q: What are your hobbies? 

A: I really enjoy running. I competed in a lot of races in NYC and hope to continue that in Bucharest. I also like exploring and trying new things. This can be anything from food, museums, hiking, etc… Sleeping is also at the top of my hobby list. 

Q: What’s something you’d like your students to know about you?

A: I’m kind and caring. If you need anything, I’m your person! My room is a quiet, safe haven for anyone that needs a minute. I try to always put myself in the shoes of my students and let that shape how I teach. I also really like Halloween. I’m a makeup artist and we go pretty crazy with costumes!


*We were unable to connect with the new French Mother Tongue teacher, Sylvie Delen, but warmly welcome her to the community.

Thanks to all the new teachers for taking the time to talk to us. We wish you the best of luck in your first year at AISB!

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